#LDNindieFILM Love Story: Everyman Hampstead
We’re asking our wonderful readers to celebrate London’s alternative cinema scene with a #LDNindieFILM Love Story! Here’s the next of their tributes to the amazing people & places that illuminate the darkness with great cinema.
By RADIANT CIRCUS
Twitter @radiantcircus | Instagram @radiantcircus
by Jonathan Cronin
Holly Bush Vale
I loved the Everyman cinema. My school was down the road in Hampstead, and we had a student film club so we could get 50p tickets in the afternoons. This was in the ’80s before streaming, before DVDs and almost before VHS, so the only way to see the old classics was to wait for them to show up on BBC2 or see them in an old fleapit revival house.
At the beginning of every month the Everyman would publish their schedule and we would start planning, figuring out which day we could maybe bunk off school a little early to get there in time for the first screening. I always wanted to go for the Woody Allen triple bills but we also saw Diva, Betty Blue, Wings of Desire. Had my mind blown at a screening of Švankmajer shorts, a double bill with Street of Crocodiles. Pop videos were considered art at the time and the Everyman showed a pop video festival on the big screen before I ever saw MTV. Everything was projected in film of course so anything that was more than a few months old was scratched and torn by the time it got there, and reel changes were often bumpy and unpredictable.
The cinema itself was a tip. A big shed, cold in the winter and sweaty in summer. Seats were creakier than the Sadler’s Wells balconies. I never bothered with snacks, but I think they made popcorn and sold sweets. The Everyman is a lot different now, but I still go back once in a while to see a film there. I’ve taken the kids and told them my nostalgic stories but they aren’t that interested. I’ve also shown them my favourite old movies and they have enjoyed some of them at least, but on Blu-ray or DVD, perfect and seamless, sitting on the couch in our living room.
THE RADIANT CIRCUS VIEW: I wanted to share Jonathan’s #LDNindieFILM Love Story because it’s a salient warning about the fading of the light. Turning up the volume of pixels, lumens and decibels runs the risk of sanitising the screen experience, replacing “bumpy and unpredictable” with a “perfect and seamless” standardised experience across digital exhibition and that modern oxymoron, ‘home cinema’. Jonathan’s Love Story is also a reminder of the number of great venues across London I’ve still got to visit. Whilst I admire Londoners’ passionate support for their local venues, I still love the experience of travelling to see new films in new (to me!) venues with new crowds. It always adds another dimension to the cinema experience and continues to drive what we do at radiantcircus.com.
PS // To learn about any screen venue’s history, head to Cinema Treasures for an outstanding global archive of cinema facts. Here’s what they have to say about the original Everyman. Let’s hope Everyman re-opens the venue with either René Clair’s LE MILLION or, my preference, Dorothy Lamour in TYPHOON….
> For a chance to win a year’s free indie cinema listings, show your support for London’s alternative film scene by submitting your own #LDNindieFILM Love Story.
> You can also browse our London Venue A to Z to find out how you can support your favourite indie cinema directly.
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THE SMALL PRINT: Each #LDNindieFILM Love Story is submitted by a reader & remains their own creative work. All opinions, errors or inaccuracies are the author’s own 😉 Updates & corrections will be made to the online version. We don’t filter by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+.